If every unpaid intern-written article is correct, and the entire millennial generation holds virtually no hope for their career futures upon graduation, then Workaholics—one of the most consistently hilarious shows on television right now even if it misses the mordant insight of Louie, the giddy highs of Childrens Hospital, or the angry authenticity of The Eric Andre Show—is providing cold comfort to everyone questioning why they ever pursued that undergraduate degree in the first place. The smart-stupid antics of top-choice sirloin brahs Adam, Blake, and ’Ders carry the seal of underachievement in every perpetually teen boy-minded pop-culture reference, but arrested development and dropping out currently has no better defense, aside from those six-figure student-loan totals. Whistle while you work? How about huff while you don’t?
The trio of photogenic burnouts in Workaholics don’t just share a bachelor pad, they all work in the same cubicle at the believably grim and anonymous telemarketing company TelAmeriCorp, under constant supervision by their leggy but man-eating manager, Alice (Maribeth Monroe). Both home and workplace provide equal opportunity for blacklight-ready wall hangings and bong hits, but the show’s comedic ace in the hole is how it frequently suggests that the boys’ dead-end job at the very least gives them the sort of mind-numbing playing field that allows their scheming imaginations to flourish. They hate the job, but it’s the only environment they inhabit that gives them hope they can actually do better, a belief that evaporates in any other situation that requires them to take responsibility even for their limited life choices. Anders, the ego, thinks he can work his way up the TelAmeriCorp ladder and attain a middle management position wherein he can flick rubber bands. Adam, the id, harbors delusions of pec-tacular bodybuilding cred. Blake isn’t as easily identifiable as the group’s superego, because he can’t ever seem to rectify the two poles, and usually instead opts for playing video games and buying coats made out of bears.
The three also take homosocial behavior to the “post-gay” bank. They work together, play together, live together, and once in awhile even jerk off together, as they most famously did in one memorable season-two episode that saw them piling into Anders’s Volvo during their lunch break for a frantic crank session. The cock-nitive dissonance of their bros-before-hoes default mode gets explored in a dazzling variety of ways throughout the show’s third season (their first super-sized order of 20 episodes), though most obviously in the love-it-or-hate-it episode “The Lord’s Force.” Adam, Blake, and Anders attend a Christian-themed strength variety show (managed by a dependably slimy Tim Heidecker) and weasel their way into inviting two of the show’s Jesus-freak studs out for a few rounds of shots. No sooner are the two bodybuilders tipsy than they start making out with each other, which gets them dropped from the show. Adam and company invite them to stay with them, secretly hoping they can start up a rival tour, and find out that their two guests aren’t three-beer queers, but full-fledged muscle-slamming slabs of man meat. Adam argues they can’t possibly be gay because of how much masculinity they radiate, oblivious even after seeing the two engage in anal sex in full view of all three of them. “You guys have monster cocks! Chicks must love sucking those things!”
Ultimately, he reasons that to be a meathead dynamo, he has to remove the blinders, which he does after assuring the gathered audience, “Even a straight man who’s had sex with over five women can channel the Gaylord’s Force!” Less obsessed with sex than they are with dicks (musing, at one point, about how big their father’s penises seemed when they were younger), Adam, Blake, and Anders routinely submit their heterosexual bluster to doomed tests. Not once, but twice during the season do they promise to whip it out in order to parade their manliness to each other, only to look down into what they’ve got tucked away in their shorts, button their pants back up, and shake their heads, “Not today.”
If there’s a significant fault to the third season of Workaholics, it might be those rare instances where the show’s ambition exceeds that of the characters it depicts, most notably the theme episodes—one flashing back five years to how the three met at college, and the other flashing forward to Blake’s wild, cyborg-populated vision for what an automated calling device would do to all of civilization. While neither is a bad episode, per se, they do shift the show’s focus away from its depiction of a generation engaged in a staring contest with its own lack of inertia, cyclically ameliorated by fake sex and real drugs. In other words, living the dream.
Nothing to complain about here. Even though the show is obviously produced on a tight budget, the image here is clear and free from artifacts, with natural tones edging occasionally toward the warm side. Similarly, the sound mix never really asserts itself, but hardly has to.
The centerpiece here is the run-of-the-season "drunkmentaries," buzzed commentary tracks from the show’s stars, creators, writers, and what sounds like anyone else who happens to wander in. (Was that the pizza guy?) They’re loose and overtly informal; during one episode, Blake Anderson’s main observation is to share, "That’s hot," over and over and over. It’s not quite on the level of that Sealab 2021 commentary track getting abandoned halfway through, but it definitely lacks ambition. Perfect for the material. Beyond that is a 10-minute blooper reel (more dicks), outtakes, a music video highlighting Montez Walker’s baby-making jam bona fides, and three shorts showing how little is getting done elsewhere in the offices of TelAmeriCorp.
Do I think you’ll want to join Adam, Blake, and ’Ders for another season of Workaholics? I’m not just sure, I’m HIV positive.